ACCESS to more specialists and a public campaign encouraging people to visit their local doctor has led to an increased demand on Portland District Health (PDH).
During May and June, the rate of patient discharges grew by 12 per cent from the same period in 2016.
The increase comes on the back of the “It’s OK to Ask” campaign which urged people to ask their doctor if they can be treated locally.
PDH director of nursing Ros Alexander said the extra patient numbers are helping PDH’s financial performance and its ability to grow services for the local community.
“We’ve had about 50 discharges more for each month than what we would normally do,” Ms Alexander said. “This helps PDH because we make more money and that can then be put back into equipment and services at PDH.”
The influx of patients has included significant increases in oncology and elective orthopaedics. The extra elective orthopaedic cases follow higher demand and need from the community, promoting PDH to add extra lists for visiting specialists. PDH has recorded an average 14 extra elective orthopaedic cases each month.
Physician and haematologist Dr Jennifer Brotchie, who visits each Tuesday, has increased her patient load requiring chemotherapy since starting at PDH earlier this year. There has been an increase of 22 oncology discharges per month.
PDH CEO Chris Giles said the “It’s OK” campaign was launched after PDH was made aware some people had been referred to Ballarat and Geelong for procedures